Research Topic

Ethnopharmacological Responses to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic

About this Research Topic

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as a pandemic has highlighted some unforeseen and tremendous challenges for our lives and individuals’ survival on a global scale. It may have been foreseen from an epidemiological perspective as a risk, but the enormous medical, societal, scientific, and technical ...

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as a pandemic has highlighted some unforeseen and tremendous challenges for our lives and individuals’ survival on a global scale. It may have been foreseen from an epidemiological perspective as a risk, but the enormous medical, societal, scientific, and technical challenges have so far been beyond our imagination. Ethnopharmacology is uniquely placed to contribute to the longer-term solutions to this pandemic and help in managing the immediate effects. The medical challenges are both linked to the immediate treatment and prevention of COVID-19, but also to managing symptoms and discomforts of those affected with COVID-19.

With vaccination not yet a reality, there are tasks in terms of novel antiviral treatment strategies. The numerous symptoms affecting importantly the respiratory, immune, and other systems can be treated using adjuvant therapies, and these are often based on traditional and local medical practices for similar diseases. There can be no ‘traditional’ medical treatment of this disease, but ethnopharmacology can contribute to novel ways to treat and support patients affected by COVID-19. Clinical research on COVID-19 is at its infancy.

The pandemic has ruptured value chains, not only for industrial goods, both also for local and traditional medicines, as well as for those which have become global commodities. At the same time, the outbreak has been linked to local practices and we will need a one-health agenda to understand the causes and to contribute to the prevention of further pandemics.

Ethnopharmacology is a bridge between social and the biomedical research. We need to understand what the ‘general public’ and professionals are currently doing to treat the disease and what consequences this has. Is there a more evidence-based use of any adjuvant therapy? How will such a therapy contribute to the management of secondary symptoms?

With Frontiers’ vision to continuously empower the academic community with innovative solutions, which will contribute to better lives globally, we have a particular responsibility to support evidence-based scientific approaches in all fields of research, to provide inter- and transdisciplinary solutions and to enable the translation of scientific findings into solutions for all.

With this collaborative Research Topic, we invite colleagues to contribute wit high quality research with a focus on COVID-19, and how Ethnopharmacology can contribute to this research agenda. The specific themes plan to focus on include:

• Novel (and repurposed) natural antiviral agents
• Novel (and repurposed) natural immunomodulatory agents as an adjuvant treatment
• Respiratory pharmacology and the role of natural products as an adjuvant treatment
• Cellular and molecular mechanism of natural products in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19-associated diseases
• Natural products approach in multi-organ effects of COVID-19
• Pre-clinical and clinical updates on adjuvant treatments with herbal medicines
• Community responses and approaches from integrative and community medicine / primary healthcare
• Increasing drive for exotic medicines and supplements and the use of adjuvant therapies
• The impact of the pandemic on medicinal plant production and sourcing.

The present Research Topic welcome manuscripts addressing the above challenges, including what can be learned from previous epidemics like the Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) outbreaks. It is open to clinical, preclinical, and social science research, also with the vision to integrate strategies for an optimal way of managing this disease.

All Article Types currently published in the section are welcome (see list here). The manuscripts will be peer-reviewed and will need to fully comply with the Four Pillars of Best Practice in Ethnopharmacology (check here). In all research dealing with plant extracts or other natural substances/compounds, the composition and the stability of the study material must be described in sufficient detail. Please also, note specifically the guidelines concerning Pharmacological Requirements (Section 1), as well as the need for testable scientific approaches to evaluate the effects of traditional medicinal preparations (Section 3d).

For your information, the Article Processing Fees will be waived for COVID-19 and health-related articles submitted to this Research Topic within the deadline of July 15th.

We look forward to your contribution to this huge challenge and task.


Keywords: Coronavirus, COVID-19, natural products, antiviral agents, herbal medicine


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

15 July 2020 Manuscript
30 October 2020 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

15 July 2020 Manuscript
30 October 2020 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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